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Sorry seems to be the hardest word

There’s so much this industry could celebrate. Take record levels of business, innovation and new opportunities, for example. That’s why it is amusing to see a war of words going on between industry heavyweights.

Come on, admit you love it. It’s Ricky Hatton versus Joe Calzaghe – seconds out, round one. Well, don’t get too excited – in reality it’s more like Dr Evadne Hinge versus Dame Bracket.

I don’t think anyone has landed a knockout handbag blow yet but if egos were the weapons of choice these guys would have the force of a small nuclear weapon. Look no further for weapons of mass distraction.

At this stage I could revert to the parent-child relationship. Come on boys, I don’t care who was nasty to packagers first and who borrowed the other’s product, why not just shake hands and make up?

But there is a serious point here. We are all accountable for our actions. One of the personalities involved in the argument has a tradition of not supporting the packaging market. He has often used the press to blow whatever public relations bubble is flavour of the week.

But life is full of lessons and some of the most obvious are the hardest to grasp. Sometimes we make judgement calls and sometimes we are wrong. When this happens, humility helps.

In this case, the facts for the prosecution are clear. A person makes a judgement call that regulation will sweep packagers out of the market.

This seems a high risk or even a plain foolhardy strategy. After all, to conceptually wipe out a distribution channel worth tens of billions at a few media briefings and then continually drive the message home smacks of arrogance.

But move on a year. The above-mentioned Simon biddle person launches a lender and his stance becomes that it would be nice to do business with packagers. At the heart of the issue lies the fact that the market can’t and won’t forget what has gone before. Memories are long and many in the market are not quick to forgive.

The individual in question could do something oldfashioned and fairly simple – hold his hand up and say sorry. It’s not too difficult. It goes something along the lines of – sorry guys, I got that judgement call wrong. Of course, this won’t change the situation overnight but it will be a first step towards rehabilitation.


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